Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:Defense? (Score 1) 118

by pla (#49199885) Attached to: Laser Takes Out Truck Engine From a Mile Away
I think that an important question here is how does one defend oneself against this?

Ordinary mirrors just don't work against that sort of power - they still absorb a small fraction of the energy of the light hitting them, which at 30KW would vaporize anything wearable in milliseconds.

Realistically, you'd need some sort of ablative armor, but anything you could actually carry would only buy you a few seconds at best - And keep in mind that whole "equal and opposite reaction" thing - Blocking a 30KW laser through ablation would hit you with the same force as a .45 caliber bullet 60 times a second.

Comment: Re:Lift the gag order first... (Score 1) 319

It's called, "the general operations budget" I work for a big company; from on high we get general guidelines ("computers are expected to last xyz years" and "you have abc to spend on travel this year"). itt's up to the more lower-level people to decide how to portion it out.

In the FCC's case, congress has already given them money to inforce their regulations (and gave them the authority to make the regulations, but also gave them requirements like hainvg a certain number of public hearings). The FCC can then spend it on those things.

Comment: Re:DOA (Score 1) 319

And yet it does appear that the telcos are throwing money to make it happen. They certainly expect something for their money.

It does appear that it's unlikely that it would be legislation, but I imagine that they're laying the groundwork for something. Perhaps they're trying to shift the Overton window to bring it up again in the 115th Congress, when they may have a Republican President? It's unlikely that it would produce a filibuster-proof Republican Senate, but if the filibuster is the only thing preventing passage, there are often ways to convince individuals to break ranks. One tactic involves making this seem like a reasonable thing to do, and introducing legislation (especially when you give it a misleading name) can help.

Comment: Re: Many are leaving ham radio too (Score 1) 135

You have the Part 15 and ISM services for that. You really can buy a microwave link that's metropolitan-distance and legal to use.

We lost much of our 440 capability to PAVE PAWS in California. Remember, Amateur Radio is not the primary service on many bands. The military is on 440.

Comment: Re:Many are leaving ham radio too (Score 1) 135

If you want that nearly infinite microwave spectrum, you have the Part 15 and ISM services. Absolutely nothing is stopping you. Power is not the issue with those frequencies, it's line of sight and Fresnel zones.

No, I absolutely do not have to prefix my words with anything. You do that by posting as an anonymous coward. I use my real name to indicate that I stand behind my words.

Comment: Re:We almost lost two! (Score 1) 113

by smellsofbikes (#49198843) Attached to: Harrison Ford's Plane Crashes On Golf Course

We did lose a PT-22, though. Real geeks care about stuff like that more than Hollywood actors. Or should I say nerds.

  'Geek' is more the 'script kiddie' version of a nerd. Nerds know what a wire-wrap gun is, even if they're more into grinding lenses for homemade telescopes. Geeks know what's cool right now on websites like Boing Boing.

Geeks make robots. Nerds role-play robots. Dorks dance like robots.

It's entirely possible that plane could be fixed. I've seen much worse aircraft restored, and the PT22 is a particularly simple aircraft. It's an interesting choice for a very, very rich high-time pilot to be flying, in fact: originally without any electrical system at all, implying hand-propping to start it, mechanical flaps, gravity fuel system. Main wingspar made of spruce. It's like someone who can afford a Ferrari choosing to drive a Nash.

Comment: Why cities? (Score 1) 83

by jfengel (#49198147) Attached to: Self-Driving Cars Will Be In 30 US Cities By the End of Next Year

Cities seem to me like the worst place for automated driving. They're not great for any driving, since things are constantly coming at you from all directions. And while computers are great at operating with many simultaneous distractions, these are cases where errors get people hurt or dead. Erring on the side of caution will block traffic, and city streets are often already at capacity.

I would think that the best use for automated cars would be interstates, which have limited access and more predictable situations. Problems turn into crises fast, but that's the kind of thing where a computer could react better than a human, since it's likely to involve less fine discrimination between "human" and "non-human".

Ultimately I'd love to see automation replace all human drivers in cities, since it can break the connection between driver, destination, and necessity to park. They could coordinate more effectively at intersections, which are currently very wasteful. So I'd like to see this work, but right now it feels like begging for trouble.

Comment: EMail provides a paper trail (Score 1) 24

by msobkow (#49197767) Attached to: Preferred way to communicate with co-workers?

Not only does email provide a paper trail of the discussion, it doesn't require that someone drop everything they're doing right now just to answer a couple of questions.

I HATE messaging systems, phone calls, and personal conversations for just that reason. I used to have one guy at my last job who constantly came to ask me questions instead of using Google or reading the documentation I'd already sent him. Laziest bugger I've ever had the misfortune of working with... and a smarmy arse-kisser to boot, which annoyed the schite out of me.

Comment: A real test: Orlando, FL (Score 3, Insightful) 83

by msobkow (#49197705) Attached to: Self-Driving Cars Will Be In 30 US Cities By the End of Next Year

If they want a real test, try Orlando, Florida. I found it the most trying city to drive in of any I've ever lived in, thanks to the joyous combination of people visiting from Ohio that expect a mile clear ahead of them and people from New York who think 6 inches is enough of a gap for someone to cut them off.

Comment: Two Products vs. Entire Portfolio (Score 1) 241

by msobkow (#49197247) Attached to: Mozilla: Following In Sun's Faltering Footsteps?

How can you compare a business that has only two real products (Firefox and Thunderbird) to a company that had several iterations of hardware and dozens of software products, as well as service, support, and contracting arms?

Of course Mozilla is on the downslide -- Chrome came along to compete with them, and Internet Explorer was improved, while Safari came into existence. Mozilla still make my browser and email clients of choice, but not all people make the same choice.

And so it should be.

But while Mozilla may be waning in popularity and market share, they are hardly imploding like Sun did. They were never any where near as big nor as important to the industry to begin with!

Take your work seriously but never take yourself seriously; and do not take what happens either to yourself or your work seriously. -- Booth Tarkington